Bhubaneswar: Bargarh town transformed into the mythological Mathura as “Dhanu Yatra”, the largest open-air theatre in the world began from December 23.
A colourful cultural procession accompanied by folk dancers moved round the streets of the town after performing puja at the Maa Samaleswari Temple and reached the court of Kansa at Hatpada.
An elephant, horses and camels, specially brought here for the festival, added to the beauty of the procession.
This festival came into existence in 1947-48 to celebrate the Independence.
This year, veteran Bhubaneswar Pradhan is essaying the role of the mythological tyrant ‘Kansa’.
Every year in the month of Pausa, it is celebrated for eleven days. The festival begins with enactment the grand wedding of Devaki and Basudeva, then traces the birth of Krishna and ends with Kansa’s death.
For this occasion the whole town of Bargarh becomes the city of Mathura. Ambapali situated on the other side of river Jeera becomes Gopapura and the river Jeera becomes Yamuna. During the fest, all the people of Bargarh become artistes and the town becomes a big stage.
However, all the episodes of the festival takes place in 14 different places of the town making it the largest open air theatre in the World, which provides the festival a unique identity.
During these 11 days, Kansa goes on a Nagar Parikrama on an Elephant, every morning. He imposes fines on any one for violation of rules. He also holds a darbar to listen to the grievances of his subjects and rewards and punishes them accordingly may it be any MLA, MP or any other senior official. All respect Kansa and obey his orders without fail.
Several cultural programmes will also be organised during the festival. Cultural troupes from across the country and abroad visit Bargarh to perform during the yatra.
On the sidelines of the yatra, a state-level handloom and handicrafts exhibition, trade fair and Pallishree Mela are also being organised.
The festival will continue till January 02.